Which words do you love to hate?
The Guardian’s books blog has reported how some poets at a recent literary festival were asked which word each of them hated and why.
Here is what the poet Philip Wells said: “‘Pulchritude’ is certainly up there on my blacklist. It violates all the magical impulses of balanced onomatopoeic language — it of course means ‘beautiful’, but its meaning is nothing of the sort, being stuffed to the brim with a brutally latinate cudgel of barbaric consonants. If consonants represent riverbanks and vowels the river’s flow, this is the word equivalent of the bottomless abyss of dry bones, where demons gather to spit acid.”
The Guardian blog opened the matter up for debate, and received 1,500 responses from readers.
Here is a very random and very perfunctory list of the words/phrases I hate.
based out of
heads-up (to mean “I’ll let you know)
heads up (to mean merely ‘heads’/ ‘is the head of’)
align (to mean agree)
on the same page
hospitalize (and its variants)
pulchritude (yes, I agree with Wells)
No, I won’t go on. If I do, I shall get nothing else done today.
Send in your lists of words/phrases that make you cringe.